When is it Over?
Q: My girlfriend and I were going through some hard times recently. Out of my great love for her, I proposed to her. She said she needed some time to think about such a big decision. So we started to shop for the right ring. Within two weeks, though, I noticed a change in her mood. She didn't talk as much, she was always going out with her friends, and then when I called her and asked what was wrong, she said , "I'm sorry, I don't know if I can trust you as my husband, and my feelings for you have changed." So we both went our separate ways. It's been two months now, and we're starting to talk again. Should I give her the time of day? Maybe she has come to her senses. Or should I ignore her and move with my life? I'm 26. -- Frank
Dr. Susan: Can you learn to be patient? Then you might want to start all over with her and see where the relationship goes. But this time, take it slow. Previously, instead of working on the issues, you simply proposed marriage and figured everything would solve itself. Shopping for "the right ring" is an odd activity when your girlfriend said she needed time to think. It's like you tried to rush her by getting her excited about a wedding, rather than focusing on what was troubling her about the relationship. She, too, rather than focus on the two of you, drifted away.
From what you've said, I don't know whether she's suddenly feeling lonely and wants to be friends, or whether she's rethought your whole relationship and wants to give it another try from the beginning. It may be hard for you to trust her now, which makes you "even," since she said she had trust issues with you, too. Some couples counseling might be in order, or you two may find yourself going through the very same cycle yet again.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.